Fundamental reform of the care and support system needed, says The King's Fund

Commenting in response to the government’s launch of a consultation on the future funding of adult social care in England, The King’s Fund Chief Executive Niall Dickson said:

‘For frail and dependent older people in particular the current prospects are grim – criteria for care are becoming ever more stringent, eligibility thresholds are rising, while more people need help but often only those in the most desperate need receive it.

‘We welcome today’s announcement – we really cannot miss this opportunity to have a frank and open debate leading to fundamental reform of the care system. All the main political parties agree that the current system is complex, unfair and unsustainable ­– all of them know we need to look at radical solutions that will provide better care, promote independence and not penalise those who save.

‘We need to find a way of paying for care that balances the responsibilities of the individual, the family and the state. We need a system committed to maximising independence, focused on prevention, early intervention, and tailoring services to the needs of each individual. A system that supports and encourages people who bring some of their own resources – whether financial or in terms of family support - rather than the present system that too often only steps in when savings are gone or family carers are exhausted.

‘The government has done well to take this first step in grasping an issue that for too long has been sidelined or ignored. The big prize would be a political consensus that would allow us to establish a new system that will last for a generation and more.’

Notes to editors: 

  1. For further information or interviews, please contact The King’s Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  2. The King’s Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.